Sometimes, despite our best efforts, divorce becomes necessary. When you know that there is a divorce in your future, you need to start preparing as soon as possible. You want to gather information and create a plan so that you have maximum stability post-divorce.
Although you may already have a picture of how that may look and feel, you may not have considered how this change will impact your pocketbook. Our six tips to help you get your finances in order before filing will help you financially prepare for your divorce:
1. Gather a team of experts.
The very first thing you should factor into your budget is how much it will cost to have a team of experts to help you. This team may include a divorce attorney, a certified divorce financial analyst, and a mental health counselor.
When you select your divorce attorney, choose someone who practices family law, because by virtue of focusing on one area of the law, you’ll know that they have the requisite and desired experience to get you through your divorce in the best shape possible. Depending on where you live, some states may offer board-certified certification. For example, Cheryl Alsandor is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. If you are in Texas, give our experienced legal team a call at (713) 661-9783.
Your certified divorce financial analyst will probably be someone new to you. It’s possible that you and your spouse have a current financial advisor, but you want to get someone different from that person. Think of it this way: you and your spouse wouldn’t use the same divorce lawyer, so you shouldn’t use the same financial advisor either.
By working with a certified divorce financial analyst, you’re working with someone whose main purpose is to make sure that you’re financially ready for your divorce. This includes helping you make the right decisions about how to manage your current financial situation and advice on how to make sure your spouse isn’t hiding assets or information from you.
2. Pay attention to your finances.
If you’re not the person who pays the bills, now is the time to make yourself aware of household expenditures. Figure out how much you’re paying and when. Notice whose name the bills and credit cards are under. Start keeping a log of where and how much money you’re spending. Make sure you write down everything!
3. Check your credit score.
If the credit cards and household bills are in your spouse’s name, you may have a poor credit rating and not know about it. This is easy to improve, but it may take several months. Get a credit card in your name only and you may want to charge a small amount on it. Every month, pay off your credit card in full. Make sure your payments are always posted by the due date.
4. Gather important documents.
When you go through a divorce, particularly if there is potential alimony or child support, there will be no shortage of financial issues. That’s why it’s best to start gathering your important papers now. The more information you can find and record, the better.
Remember, these accounts will probably have both you and your spouse’s names on the account. There is no guarantee that they will not be notified if you start requesting copies of old statements.
Here’s a list of some important documents that you will need:
- All bank statements for the past year,
- Most recent pay stub,
- 3 years of income tax returns,
- Most recent retirement or investment accounts statements,
- A list and current balances of any loans, and
- A list of assets and debts brought into and incurred throughout the marriage.
5. Start saving NOW!
You don’t want to come into a divorce financially unprepared. There are going to be expenses. Some recommend that you have about $20,000 saved before you file, but this varies. However, you don’t want to make obvious withdrawals from your banking accounts. Think of ways to save a little bit each day.
6. Consult with an experienced Texas family law attorney.
Once you have your financial ducks in a row and are ready to file for divorce, contact us. If you are filing for divorce in Texas, look no further than the legal team at The Alsandor Law Firm. With your planning and our team’s collective experience in Texas family law, your divorce can proceed smoothly. Call us at (713) 661-9783.